WASHINGTON, D.C. –
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) denounces the recent rise in hate crimes across the nation, calling the increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, hate speech, and bias-based violence that has spiked since the brutal Oct. 7 attack in Israel and the devastating conflict in Gaza an increasingly dangerous path that threatens everyone in its wake.
“This escalation of violence, and the loss, fear, anxiety, and trauma that comes with it are contrary to everything social work stands for, and we affirm our commitment to fighting such hateful incidents with the full force of our profession,” said NASW CEO Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, LCSW.
Reported hate crimes have surged since the start of the conflict according to the FBI, which has opened 60 percent more hate crime investigations
since October. In addition:
- The Anti-Defamation League reports that antisemitic incidents have risen more than 380 percent
since the terrorist attack in Israel, the most to occur in a two-month period since that organization began tracking such incidents in 1979.
- The Council on American Islamic Relations has reported more than 2,100 complaints
of Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate in the last two months.
At least two recent killings in the United States have been listed as hate crimes and numerous people have been injured, including in shootings. The fear felt by people who are Jewish, Israeli, Muslim or Palestinian has become so oppressive that some try to avoid public harassment by changing their attire.
The ethical principles of service, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence have always been integral to the mission of social work and to its goal of promoting social justice and reducing human suffering.
Social workers are bound by these principles, by our awareness of the pain caused by violence, oppression, and hate, and by our training and Code of Ethics, to decry intolerance, prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry.
NASW is committed to:
- Condemning all acts of hate and urging social workers to help their communities create initiatives to prevent hate crimes and heal from such trauma through mediation, training, and community support.
- Encouraging social workers to be culturally aware and informed about the Jewish, Arab, and Muslim clients they are working with and the trauma, fear, and anxiety that acts of hate are causing them.
- Ensuring social workers are aware people outside of the Jewish, Arab, and Muslim communities are traumatized by incidents of hate because the corrosive effect of hate touches us all.
- Continuing to advocate for lawmakers on the local, state, and federal levels to pass and enforce anti-hate laws.
- Advocating for mental health services for those affected by hate and urging social workers working with these people or communities to practice self-care and seek mental health support if needed.
- Supporting the global social work community’s call for peace and humanitarian assistance in the region, as a member of the International Federation of Social Workers.
NASW Code of Ethics
NASW Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
NASW Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice
NASW Social Justice Brief Migrant and Asylum-Seeking Families: Analysis of Federal Government Policies and Procedures